The Wisconsin Badgers (2-3 overall, 1-2 Big Ten) put on a clinic at the line of scrimmage on Saturday, imposing their will against Illinois (2-5 overall, 1-3 Big Ten) and outgaining the Illini 491-93, in the 24-0 victory.
Bret Bielema, the former Badgers head coach, who coached his first game against his former team, had said that Illinois would look to establish the run against Wisconsin. Illinois rushed for 26 yards in the game on 13 attempts.
On the other side of the field, the Badgers rushed for 391 yards as a team and had two 100-yard rushers in the victory, for the first time since 2018. Chez Mellusi led the way for Wisconsin, rushing 21 times for 145 yards and one touchdown. Close behind Mellusi, was freshman Braelon Allen, who rushed 18 times for 131 yards and a touchdown.
It's all @BadgerFootball in Champaign.@BraelonAllen just went 23 yards to make it a 24-0 game. pic.twitter.com/t65ssROe5j— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 9, 2021
This was Mellusi’s third 100-yard game of the season and Allen’s first of his career, in just his fourth game. Fullback John Chenal also added a touchdown and nine carries for 28 yards.
However, it wasn’t just Wisconsin’s offensive that did damage against the Illini — Wisconsin’s defensive did as well with their first shut out of the season. Wisconsin held Illinois to 93 total yards, including the 26 yards that came on the ground.
With Illinois struggling mightily to move the ball, it should be no surprise that Illinois was 1-for-12 on third down and 1-for-3 on fourth down in the game. Illinois only had nine first downs in the game, most of which came off of penalties as Wisconsin committed nine penalties for 101 yards.
Illinois lost starting quarterback Brandon Peters early in the game, after he went 3-for-7 passing the ball for 12 yards and he was then relieved by Artur Sitkowski, who started the game 0-for-12 and finished 8-for-27 for 55 yards.